LIFE AT CONTENT: Spring Clean Your Home's Most Overlooked Areas

99% of the year, I handle the house cleaning here at Content. That includes all the daily cleaning and tidying to keep up with by John and I and our many businesses run from the house, plus all the cleaning associated with our Airbnb guests. With over 3,500 square feet of living space, I’d say I’ve been become somewhat of a cleaning professional.

But even with all that time vacuuming, moping and dusting, once a year, I hire actual professionals to give Content a thorough spring cleaning. Making sure to cast a bright light on all the nooks and crannies over looked during the winter months.

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RENOVATION: South Street Kitchen (Before)

South Street Design Rendering

As some of you may have seen on the Content + Company Instagram feed, we've been working with our clients on the #southstreetkitchenreno for the past 3 months, but believe it or not, this project has been a year in the making.

Let's back up to early 2017, when Mark and Marie contacted John to build them a custom dining room table.

During our very first meeting, with the then engaged-to-be-married couple, Mark and Marie showed us around their beautiful, c. 1910 home. Full of charm and character, the previous owners had only made minor upgrades to the house. That night, seated at a humble folding table, Mark and Marie shared with us their plans for upgrading the house, with hopes of entertaining friends and family. Mark was ready to cook and we were ready to help!

Even in full wedding planning mode, Mark and Marie were eager to discuss their priority, post-nuptial project - the Kitchen.

And now, exactly 1-year from that very first meeting, we are wrapping up a full kitchen renovation for this awesome, now, husband and wife.

BEFORE


The bones of this space were not too bad. Six, double-hung windows allow a ton of natural light into the room, and an addition put on by the previous owners (including the breakfast nook and mudroom), made the overall kitchen about 350 square feet. Plenty of room for improvement!


Half-wall


Curiously, during the construction of the breakfast nook addition, the previous contractor choose to add this dividing wall, likely as structural support, instead of adding a ceiling beam.



Though the addition may have been structurally sounds, the new wall presented mostly design "cons". It cut the space, visually, in-half, forced the refrigerator to open into the kitchen/dining room entry door and blocked all of that wonderful natural light. There was also a tremendous amount of unused space between the breakfast nook and the fridge wall.

Early on, we knew the wall had to go. Luckily, the removal of the wall created a great opportunity for us to add an exposed beam, not only for ascetics, but also for function.







DESIGN

During our first design meeting and throughout the initial design process, Marie shared a Pinterest board chock full of images that would continue to inspire this project. 




Stylistically the couple both wanted a functional, fresh, bright and airy space but individually Mark leans more industrial while Marie craves warmth through natural wood. Marie also liked the idea of playing with a "pop-of-color" which I can't wait to share with you in the reveal.




Here are the design renderings I originally presented to Mark and Marie:






PROGRESS

The South Street project was, give or take, a full renovation. Here are a few of the construction milestones that helped shape this new, amazing space:

  • Removal of 4 layers of linoleum


  • Exposing the brick chimney for architectural interest 










  • Removing the half wall




  • Adding the expansion beam



  • Re-configuring the walls to accommodate additional cabinets and a center facing refrigerator



  • Ceramic, wood grain tile flooring throughout














  • Ceiling beams wrapped in rough-sawn oak








  • Custom range hood





  •  All new, white cabinets







  • Apron-front farm sink








  •  Recessed lighting throughout





That's it for now! You didn't think I was going to spill all the renovation beans, did you? Stay tuned for our big reveal of the South Street Kitchen, coming VERY soon!

OH, and if there are any progress projects you'd like to hear more about in a separate post, please comment below!


ONE ROOM CHALLENGE (Week One): Annex Guest Room Makeover


Twice a year, in October and April, Linda from Calling It Home and House Beautiful hosts a One Room Challenge. Over the course of 6 weeks, 20 select designers and bloggers tackle renovating or redecorating a specific room, and share their progress with weekly blog posts. 

When the April 2017 list of selected designers was announces, I was so inspired by how many of the participants are blogs and designers I admire. I knew I wanted to participate too!

The One Room Challenge encourages Guest Participants, so I'm joining the fun, sharing the magic of an Annex Guest Room makeover we have yet to tackle.

What's even more exciting, is this is a linked event, which means that all the Guest Participants will share a common link and you'll be able to easily surf through a ton of room transformations. You'll find that link at the bottom of this post!


Warning: The following "before" images are scary!

I often share this 'before' image with people who don't know the state in which we acquired Content.


I suppose this Annex Guest Room image was taken during the bank's repossession of the property prior to foreclosure.

Luckily, when we closed on Content in October 2014, the trash and junk had been cleaned out.

But, it always amazes me that just 5 short months after this picture was take, two knuckle heads (John + I) showed up bright-eyed and bushy tailed, and jumped feet first into the biggest renovation project of our lives.

Even though we've done a lot since 2014 (i.e. the blood, sweat and tears chronicled throughout this blog), nowadays the Annex Guest Room has mostly been used as storage.



Here's John and my Dad, likely discussing how I'm a closet hoarder of second-hand furniture. 


Over the coldest winter months, I did spend a few days replacing all of the window weight mechanics so all the windows now properly function.





Overall, the Annex Guest Room has awesome bones, just like the rest of the house. This space features a brick fireplace (which needs a mantel), exposed beam ceiling and four original, double pane windows.

The original wide, hardwood pine floors are still in this room. And the space has beautiful ceiling and baseboard molding too!



The overall goal of this makeover is to clean up the walls and ceilings with fresh paint, and create a "disappearing" guest room. Huh?



Stay with me... We refer to this as the Annex because it attaches to Guest Suite #1 and the Great Room. We think this would be the perfect space to provide friends and family, traveling together, with additional accommodations.

But we want to reserve the ability to remove the beds should the space be needed for a special event, in conjunction with the Great Room.





So far, I have a vintage camp theme in mind. I think this will lend itself well to the "disappearing" beds, as well as to a lounge setting.

I have a bunch of ideas floating around, and can't wait to see this fun, quirky makeover come to life.

Be sure to follow along with our progress and comment below with your thoughts!


KEEP IT GOING!

You can connect to all the One Room Challenge Guest Participant week 1 updates here! #oneroomchallenge


LIFE AT CONTENT: Halloween 2016

This year, I decided to re purpose my Halloween decor, and not buy anything new. Don't get me wrong, with almost 10 years of Halloween party hosting on my resume, I had plenty to work with.

Also, I'm not a kitschy Halloween decorator, and prefer to use common household items in creative ways to suggest spook. I also love the Dollar Store, so my displays usually max out at $5.

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RENOVATION REVEAL: Content Master Bathroom

Taking a look back, and realize I never gave you a full look at the before and after of our Master Bathroom. So, here is the entire run down including all the before and after shots, which I know you all enjoy so much!

And, UPDATE: You can now see this before + after featured on Apartment Therapy!

For basic necessity, the master bathroom was the first space that needed to be tackled FAST in order for us to move into Content. 

BEFORE

Our main priorities in the master bath were to:

  • open the room up

  • bring back some historic, architectural interest

  • and add interest and a modern touch with a bold accent.

First, we removed the existing Jacuzzi tub that was taking up nearly half the floor space.

With a ton more square footage to work with, we created a full walk-in shower:

With such a large space, we decided to construct a wall to separate and enclose the toilet. Not only did this add privacy, but allowed us to add necessary storage as a built-in.

Privacy wall for toilet & added storage

Privacy wall for toilet

To bring back the historic, and architectural detail that this old home deserves, we added an cast iron, claw foot tub that I found on Craigslist and refinished in a matte black. I kept the feet original because I loved the nostalgia the old paint colors invoke. 

John wanted to create interest and detail in the master bath, and did so by joining the double windows with a decorative trim which acts as a picture frame for the claw foot as well.

Then, we chose a deep, dramatic blue paint color for the walls to highlight the freshly painted trim, exposed ceiling beams and original, oak hardwood floors.

Ready for the glamour, after shots? Enjoy!

AFTER

Now you can get this look through our Shop Our Home page here.

Sources

WALL PAINT: Van Deusen by Benjamin Moore

TRIM PAINT: Advanced White by Benjamin Moore

CLAW FOOT TUB: Vintage from Craigslist

VANITY: John's custom design made from walnut. Content Woodworking

VANITY COUNTERTOP: Blue stone

SCONES: French, vintage, Ebay

RUG: World Market which is currently unavailable but a similar is here.

WINDOW SHUTTERS: Lowe's

ACCORDION COAT HANGER: World Market

WALL SHELF: John's custom design made from walnut. Content Woodworking

PLANT POTS AND BASKETS: Ikea

CHAIR: Vintage

TOWELS: Crate and Barrel (teal)